Dr Claire Garrigue
IRD, France & Operation Cétacés, New Caledonia
Claire is the scientific advisor of the NGO Opération Cétacés, created in 1996 (www.operationcetaces.nc), where she has developed a research and conservation program on marine mammals in New Caledonia. She is a founding member of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium where she initiated collaboration with other scientists involved in marine mammal research.
The goal of her work was to determine the population status of humpback whales that over-winter in the lagoons. This long-term study, now going for 21 years, has used a variety of research techniques including genetics, photo-identification and most recently satellite tagging that made the first discovery of the high use of offshore seamounts. In addition she has been involved in research on Indo Pacific bottlenose dolphins and dugongs. She has initiated aerial surveys for dugong around the main island of New Caledonia, aimed at determining the distribution of the species, patterns of seasonal occurrence, as well as identifying critical habitats.
She is now working as a senior scientist at IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) in the UMR ENTROPIE where she is in charge of developing a project on megafauna.